After ten days the good life was over and we embarked on the troopship "Cameronia" on the 9th of April together with a full complement of reinforcements, some of whom had only been in the Army a few weeks before sailing from Australia. They had arrived in the Middle East a few weeks before and had received a minimum of weapons training. Fortunately most of the reinforcements were well trained and good types. Two of the recent enlistments were placed into the same section as myself. They admitted that neither had ever fired a military rifle and were scared of having to do so. A lot of people were scared of the .303 rifle at first and with some reason as, if incorrectly held, they could deliver a painful kick. That together with the considerable noise plus the scaremongering by the tall tales of older soldiers gave reason enough to be very apprehensive.
Another problem was that the only rifle firing range in Palestine was near Tel Aviv and the property of the British Army. From the way they kept us away, one would have thought that we were liable to steal the thing, sand and all. Those two young men that I mentioned were brothers and were hardly the type to strike terror into the hearts of the well trained German soldiers we were soon to meet. They should have been put into different platoons. They sat, ate and talked almost exclusively together and thus fed on each others fears. Had they been forced to turn to some older person for support they could have developed differently. I feel that the selection for overseas service could have been one with a closer look at whether a recruit was mentally equipped for the life of hardship and danger. Emphasis was placed too heavily on the physical fitness of volunteers.
On the 12th of April, 1941, late in the afternoon we entered Piraeus Harbour, Greece to a scene of utter chaos. About thirty six hours before our arrival the German bombers had launched a massive air-raid on the shipping there. We were able to count at least twenty ships sunk or burning, many had been run ashore to prevent them sinking. The port area was a mess with fires still burning. Much of the damage ashore had been caused when a blazing ammunition ship exploded. One could only guess at the probable loss of life. It was quite impossible for us to land. The Cameronia turned about and put to sea again and spent the night cruising out in open waters. We eventually landed on the 13th and were quickly marched away from the port area to the shelter of some trees. Next morning we were loaded onto a train, everyone being nervous of the bombers returning. The train consisted of a line of goods vans with straw spread on the floor plus one passenger carriage up the front for senior officers.
"Wadi Mac" was in the same van as myself and was once again Company 2nd In Command. Our Company now had a full complement of officers including a new Company Commander. A few hours into the trip, word came down that Mr. Mac Farlane was to move to the front carriage because the new Company Commander had taken ill and had left the train. He, Wadi Mac was once again Company Commander. Wadi Mac was again leading "B" Company as he did in the desert following the death of Captain Green. As before, he did a first class job. Once more he was doing the work of a Captain or Major but getting a Lieutenant's pay. In the army there was often injustice in the area of promotion and recognition for work done. Who you knew or which Public School you had attended had a lot to do with your chances of promotion in the higher ranks.
Lieutenant Mac Farlane was not a polished Officer type which was probably why he missed promotion but he held the friendship and respect of all troops and to me that seemed to be the all important thing. Not many officers were regarded as both a leader and a friend. Captain Green was such a man also. One never hesitated to salute either of them no matter where you met them. As we travelled north, more than once we met train loads of Greek troops going south. We gathered from them that they had been pulled out of the front line and sent on leave without their arms or equipment. This puzzled us, and them also, as we understood that the Germans were already trying to break through up on the Northern Greek border. This traitorous pulling out of other troops was the basic reason why our task, was right from the start, doomed to failure.
On the 15th April, 1941 towards evening our train reached Larissa and the train crew, on being told that we were intending to go further north, promptly quit. When we started out we were told that our destination would be Salonica. We disembarked and marched clear of the town. Rail yards were always a prime target for enemy bombers, of which there were usually a few about. As we walked away from the train we saw many buildings that were damaged, some completely flattened. We presumed this was the work of the enemy bombers. We were not particularly pleased at the thought. It was some time later before we learned that Larissa had been devastated by a very severe earthquake a couple of weeks previously. It was this, not enemy action that was responsible for the damage.
It was dark before word came through that our Battalion was to withdraw to Dhomokos Pass, some miles to the south, to hold the pass until further notice. The enemy having broken through along the Greek-Yugoslav border, our forces were retreating under heavy pressure. All that our troops could hope to do would be to slow the enemy advance. This would allow an orderly withdrawal of all troops to more easily defended areas further south in Greece. This promised to be a very difficult operation as they were being pressed all the time by a very aggressive enemy who had complete control in the air. The 2/7th Battalion was the last unit of the 6th Division to leave the desert and the last to arrive in Greece, arriving too late to influence the situation there. Which was why we now found ourselves withdrawing without having fired a shot. Some of the other units dubbed us the Larissa Whippets, no doubt because of the haste with which we reversed our travel instead of standing to fight. As always, we did as ordered and did not enjoy retreating. The plains around Larissa were most unsuitable as a site to make a stand.
When we were ordered to return to Dhomokos, there was a problem as no train crews were to be found. There was a call for volunteers. Corporal Jock Taylor, Corporal Naithsmith and Private Melville stepped forward. They had all had experience driving trains before the war. They went into the rail yards in the dark, selected a suitable engine and gathered enough trucks to take the entire battalion to safety. Thanks to their spy network operating in Greece at the time, the Germans knew of our presence in the area and were bombing around the outskirts of Larissa hoping to find us. Thus, as soon as the lads started to get up steam in the engine, they were observed and bombers concentrated on them. To put them off the scent, one of the trio lit a fire in an engine about three hundred yards away, leaving the firedoor partly open. It worked, and while the bombers attacked the decoy, Jock and Company moved out, picked us up and had us on our way south before daylight.
In spite of some attention from enemy planes, we arrived safely at the rail siding at the foot of the range of mountains over which ran the Dhomokos Pass. On foot we climbed the long ridge that led to the top. By nightfall the Battalion was astride the road and dug in along the ridge overlooking the plains to the north. Our Task was to hold the Pass against any enemy forces while allowing our own forces to pass through. We needed to give our people time to reach the safety of areas further south before we withdrew. It appeared at the time that this would not be an easy task.
When we arrived, the first of our trucks had already started winding up the long hill past us. Within 24 hours the trickle became a steady stream of trucks, at times almost bumper to bumper. We reached Dhomokos on the 16th of April and by the 18th were subjected to constant attacks by bombers who were mainly trying to hit the traffic climbing the hill. Larger bombers were not very successful as they had to bomb from too high because of the steepness of the terrain and the height of the surrounding mountains. Soon the lighter bombers arrived as their forces captured closer airfields. These lighter aircraft used to dive at the road traffic and then zoom up the valley and over the top almost eye to eye with us. They naturally gave us plenty of attention as we fired at them. Fortunately they bombed and strafed with very little noticeable effect. We tried to shoot them down as they roared past but were surprisingly unsuccessful. I took a turn on the Bren and saw one tracer bullet bounce off the underside of the plane. That was the first time we knew for sure that the under side of some planes were armoured.
How the enemy knew so much about our activities was shown when our Intelligence officers rounded up twelve "fifth columnists" snooping in the area. Further evidence of the divided loyalties of the Greek people. On arrival we received an issue of Sticky Bombs for antitank use. I was given a box of four and told to seek opportunities to use them as I saw fit. The instructions on the box stated that one pulled the pin out which allowed the outer cover to fall off revealing a glass ball about five inches diameter covered with a sticky substance. One was to approach an enemy tank and strike it firmly in a vulnerable spot then move rapidly away because the bomb would explode in five seconds after the release of the handle. If you are still able, it was advised that you take cover and seek another target that may present itself if other tanks should try to help your first victim. I tested one on a rock beside the road. That they were powerful enough to wreck a light tank, I did not doubt, but was not sorry that no enemy tank ever came that close to me.
On the 19th, it was discovered that a train standing at the siding below us was loaded with ammunition and petrol, possibly left there for the advancing Germans. It was decided that it had to be moved to safety at all costs to deny them its valuable contents. So once more the trio, Taylor, Naithsmith and Melville volunteered to move it. This time they were accompanied by seven others to act as brake men. This particular type of goods train did not have brakes operated from the engine, but depended on men in every second truck applying hand-operated brakes in response to whistle signals from the engine driver. The enemy bombers made no attempt to bomb the train during the two days that it stood at the siding indicating that they knew what it carried. As soon as smoke appeared from the engine, the bombers were onto it. Because they obviously knew what was in the train, they kept bombing from high up and missing it. At last the inevitable happened, a lone bomber approached at low level and dropped a load of bombs right on target. One bomb landed on a petrol tanker and the resulting explosion was spectacular. A huge fireball flew hundreds of feet in the air. Although we were about three miles away we ducked for cover instinctively. The noise and blast did reach us but not enough to harm anyone.
We mourned deeply our ten friends who had been lost in such a cruel manner. Imagine our amazement and delight when nearly two hours later they all came walking wearily up the hill. Their faces so black that they looked like Africans. It so happened that as the enemy bomber approached they took cover in slit trenches that they found already dug near the siding. Only Jock Taylor stayed with the engine trying desperately to get up steam. The force of the explosion hurled the engine about fifty yards along the track and thus clear of the fire. The engine fortunately stayed on its wheels which helped to protect Jock in the cabin. The others all had to "run the gauntlet" of exploding ammunition but were uninjured. A couple of them lost all their gear which they had left on the ground near the train. The fire raged until next day.
By nightfall on the 19th the traffic climbing the mountain had dropped to a trickle. Next morning we were told, all our forces that could come through on that road had checked in. The next traffic would be hostile forces. During the morning some vehicles came into sight approaching the foot of the mountain. The Artillery fired on them, setting one truck on fire. It was then discovered that they were a group of our own engineers who had been delayed while mining the roads to delay the enemy. The road up the mountain had already been blown in several places so all that remained for them to do was disable their vehicles and walk up to where we were waiting with our transport. Although the enemy land forces were not yet in sight, thanks to the engineers blowing up bridges and culverts and damaging roads, our task was over. Before dark we were able to embus and follow the rest of our troops.
We were told that the decision had been made to attempt to establish further south at Lamia and Brallos, major lines of defence at strategic places. To give our forces time to get all troops into position behind those defences and to allow demolition work to be completed it was decided to establish one more road block and hold it for one day. To this end, somewhere about midway between Dhomokos and Lamia, four platoons, one each from four different Companies were selected to make at stand. The place chosen was in a strategically viable site where the road crossed a swampy plain. The road then went into some very steep scrub covered hills. It appeared to be a good spot but we would not be able to hold it for long once large forces arrived.
My platoon was one of the chosen ones. We took up positions facing north along a straight strip of road to where we could see it turn out of the hills about 1200 yards away, a little over a kilometre. We had minutes before driven along that same strip of road which was the main road south. Behind us the hills rose sharply on both sides. We could see the beginning of a lake a mile or so to our left. My position was on the extreme right hand end of the front line. The road was built up a few feet above the surrounding soggy plain. We were supported by one 25 pounder artillery piece and four Vickers machine-guns, all of us hidden in the scrub but not dug in because we lacked equipment for digging. We just lay in hollows and behind logs. We were told that our transport would be waiting around the first corner in case we had to leave in a hurry. I felt that I could have been back in Gippsland as I lay behind a rotting log and hidden by bracken ferns, with beautiful green fields stretching away in front towards some steep scrub covered hills. The common bracken evidently knows no borders.
During the morning three German motor cycles with side cars came right up to our positions. They were allowed to pass through and around the corner to where the reserve platoon had the road blocked by a fallen tree. A solo motor cyclist was following about 400 yards behind the others. When the enemy reached the tree across the road the group dismounted and in spite of being outnumbered, called on our men to surrender. When they received the answer they deserved, the six enemy chose to fight rather than surrender. All six were killed in the ensuing battle in which one of our men was also killed. The solo man, despite some shots fired to stop him, escaped to take back the information that we had formed a defensive line there. Advance patrols always kept what we called an escape man some distance behind to take back news of ambushes. Foot patrols did the same thing.
On searching the sidecars and motorcycles we found that they carried quite an amount of Australian Comforts Fund cake and tins of reduced milk, all things that we had not sighted for what seemed ages. There were also a couple of packets of sweet biscuits. These had all no doubt been captured from the depots in Salonica where initially all our supplies were sent. This was evidence enough, if evidence was needed, that the enemy forces were in control in the north of the country. We learned later that the ship carrying our Company's trucks and stores was sunk in Salonica Harbour by enemy bombers. My favourite rifle was on that ship. Although I had the Tommy gun I still owned the rifle and it was to follow me in Company stores everywhere that I went. I was really very sorry to lose that rifle as it was distinctly marked on the butt. It had been matched to my style of shooting. I had proved it to be very accurate. At Puckapunyal when equipment was being issued most people took the first rifle that was handed to them, alphabetical order of the soldier coinciding with the numerical order of the number on the rifle. The first one offered to me had a short butt whereas I had proved while I was in the Militia that I needed a long butt. So I refused to accept what was offered and quoted Army Regulations to back my case. I won the argument but was never very good friends with the Company Sergeant Major from then on. I think he classed me as a "Bush Lawyer".
About noon two enemy armoured cars approached, one straight down the road towards us, moving very slowly, the other trying to out-flank us to our left towards the lake. They were both restricted in maneuverability by the swamps. The one coming up the road was quite close with nobody moving. When less than one hundred yards away he became nervous and decided to go back. We had two British light tanks hidden nearby under some trees. As the armoured car started to reverse one of our tanks moved out into the open and blasted it with a couple of well-placed shots. We saw no movement around it during the rest of the day so presumed that the crew had been killed. The other one was stationary, no doubt trying to see us. The range must have been at least half of a mile but our tank fired one shot that caused that car to burst into flames. This caused a stalemate as the enemy had no idea of what confronted them but had paid a high price for each approach. All that they could do was wait for heavy tanks and the infantry troops to arrive.
During the afternoon several truckloads of enemy troops arrived and lined the road in clear view. I was close enough to the four Vickers guns to clearly hear the Sergeant give the range then the order for all guns to engage with continuous fire. The four Vickers which hitherto had been silent opened up with rapid continuous fire and the artillery also fired. There must have been many casualties before they were able to get back around the corner and out of sight. Soon, however, the worst happened as we observed three big "Tiger" tanks arrive. They started to shell us with their big 88MM guns. However, as they could not see us they only fired a few shots at random and did not score any hits. Our tanks kept moving around so as not to give them a stationary target but would move into the open, fire a couple of shots and then take cover. Their turret gun fired a mere two pounder anti-tank missile. It was deadly at close range or against lighter armoured vehicles. This must have been the reason why the enemy waited so long before attacking as, so far, they did not know how many of us there were nor how well armed we were. Fortunately they failed to notice that one of our two tanks had become hopelessly bogged in the soft ground.
The crew stayed with it for most of the afternoon then set fire to it and left. The other tank followed soon afterwards. I think that the artillery departed at about the same time. Shortly before this, our Platoon Commander, whom I won't name, did an amazing and crazy thing. Without seeking the approval of his Senior Officer, he ordered three men, all Corporals, to take their sections' Bren guns and follow him in an attempt to capture an enemy light aircraft which had landed behind a small hill not very far in front of us. The three, all experienced soldiers, realised the foolishness of the expedition. They returned to their lines. The officer kept going and was captured by the enemy. They were probably as amazed as we were. We discussed the affair at length but failed to make sense of any of it. Why take the three Corporals and why take all the Brens in the platoon? Why not turn back as the men did when they heard voices coming from in front of them? Maybe he hoped to win a medal. Some felt that the affair could easily have had treacherous connotations. It was known that he spoke fluent German. It is hard to see what he could have done with the plane if he had managed to capture it.
Late in the afternoon the expected action started. The enemy infantry spread out across the plain and the heavy tanks started down the road firing as they came. They were firing their machine guns plus an occasional 88MM shell. A large number of enemy infantry troops appeared over the rise behind which the enemy light plane had landed earlier in the day. They were only about 500 yards away, approaching at a smart walk. They outnumbered us by about four to one. It was then that I regretted having the Tommy gun. At that distance I might just as well have thrown stones. Had I my faithful rifle, I think that at that range I could have at least given one or two a fright.
The Vickers crews were firing continuously. They fired so much that their water jackets boiled and the steam rose above the scrub. This gave the enemy tanks a target at last and they concentrated their fire on that area. Unfortunately I happened to be near there also and could hear the shrapnel and bullets whipping through the bracken. Just as things looked really bad, word came to move out and proceed to the trucks. It was very fortunate that the order came when it did. Apart from the infantry, those tanks were absolutely unstoppable by troops armed with only rifles and machineguns. It would have been a massacre.
When the order came to move out, with the enemy bearing down on us and the shells bursting, there was a moment of panic. Some men started to run. They were stopped by Corporal Hec Smith with his booming voice roaring that everyone must walk. He would shoot the next man to run. I don't know whether he would have fired or not, but all running ceased and we marched along the road in good order with shells bursting close behind us. I will admit that we did march rather quickly. A couple of our men rode away on one of the German motor bikes, the only one not damaged beyond repair in the earlier shoot-out. When we rounded the corner where our trucks were supposed to be we received our first unpleasant surprise. All that was there on the road was a squad of Engineers waiting for us to pass so that they could destroy a large culvert to hold back our pursuers. They told us that the trucks were a little further on past another culvert that was ready for blowing. Their "little further" proved to be over a mile, the longest mile that I ever travelled, with the knowledge that a large enemy force was very close behind.
Once we reached the trucks it was full speed ahead for Lamia to rejoin our various units. Our trip was interrupted several times by the need to take cover and scatter away from the trucks at the approach of enemy aircraft. They were intent on destroying trucks. Without our transport we would have been helpless. We had scattered into the fields on one occasion as a bomber approached. I had taken cover in a hollow in the ground. I had developed the habit of estimating where the bombs would land as they left the planes. I found it reassuring to know that the descending bombs were going elsewhere. On this occasion I had noted that the plane would pass directly overhead. If he dropped his bombs right then, they would land on the truck and also on me. At that same moment I could see that the stick of bombs had actually left the aircraft and the line of bombs was coming. Instantly I sprang to my feet and started to run. After about three steps I realised what a crazy thing I was doing and went to ground again. The bomber had not allowed for the wind and the closest bombs landed about 25 yards away, shaking the ground and flinging clods of earth into the air. Probably had I kept running I would have been close to that spot. At last I could understand why people put themselves at risk by moving or running when the wise thing was to stay down and hug good old Mother Earth. I did not think to get up and run, my nerves and legs did it all by themselves. It was an involuntary reflex action.
Despite the efforts of the enemy bombers, we reached the Lamia River and the town of Lamia. We climbed the winding road up the mountain to the south of the town to relative safety. As we climbed slowly upwards we had a birds-eye view of the engineers destroying the bridge over which we had just crossed. They once again had waited for us to pass. Our Engineers were busy people and showed great skill and tremendous courage. But for their efforts our losses would have been much greater. Near the top of the mountain we were greeted by General Mackay and a group of senior officers. As each truck went slowly past, the General greeted it with a "Well done, lads" and saluted. It was only on rejoining our unit that the significance of it became clear. We were told that the reason for our platoons being drawn from different Companies was because we were classed as "expendable". The anticipated losses were best spread over several units. The engineers were under orders to blow up the culverts if the enemy came too close regardless of whether or not we were past. The culverts were very large. Their destruction would have left a gap some ten feet across and about eight feet deep. However, the Germans had shown in the past that they could repair such obstacles in an hour or two.
It so happened that our casualties were lighter than the troops waiting in supposed safety. A very heavy air-raid struck Battalion Head Quarters and killed or wounded several including R.S.M. ( Regimental Sergeant Major) Sutton. We had counted over sixty aircraft flying in formation as they passed over us on their way to bomb Battalion H.Q. area. On rejoining our unit we were loaded with emergency rations and ammunition. We were then sent to our defensive positions on top of an almost vertical cliff overlooking the country across which we had just retreated. The cliffs along this sector were about 2000 feet high. It nearly killed us to get up there as we had to first descend to the foot of the range before climbing to the top. I had chosen to carry 800 rounds of Tommy gun ammunition. With the prospect of several days of close quarters fighting, I hated the thought of running short of ammo. How wrong I was. I didn't get to fire a shot.
Here again things could have been different if only I'd had my rifle. Next morning as I looked down to the bottom of the almost vertical cliff, I observed a party of about thirty German troops passing to my left to where the cliff was not so sheer. About 600 yards was a long way but there was a chance to hit one or two with a rifle. A few minutes after they passed out of my view they started to scale the steep slope. This steeply sloping sector was covered by a troop of four of our Vickers machine-guns. When we had arrived at the cliff top we were cheered by the thought that at last we would be able to make a worthwhile stand with the odds on our side for a change. This would see an end to all the retreating. However, once more the tide of war had changed and we received orders to go to where our trucks would be waiting.
Once more we were moving as soon as we were in position. At that stage we could not understand why. The four Vickers gun crews had just got into position after hauling guns and ammo to the top of the mountain. Like me they had too much ammo to carry away. I dumped half mine. They observed the enemy group climbing the steep slope and decided that bullets fired at the enemy were not wasted. After allowing the enemy group to climb a distance up they opened fire. We wondered what on earth was going on as the four Vickers guns blazed away without pause for several minutes near us while we couldn't see a target to fire at. The steep slope was covered with rocks and boulders so at least some of the enemy would have found shelter.
As we moved around past them the machine gunners were packing up, quite happy to be packing a lot less weight of gear than they brought. Once more, before the enemy could bring enough forces forward to launch an attack and give us a chance to hit him hard, we were withdrawing. The troops on the west coast, mostly Greek forces, had collapsed and the order came for us to withdraw. We of course rarely knew what was going on until much later. On the urging of Hitler, Italy had invaded Greece the previous year. They had advanced through Albania into Greece with the intention of tying up Greek forces, possibly even capturing a large portion of Greece.
The Greeks were brave and skilled soldiers. Against terrible odds, they chased the Italian forces out of their country and across most of Albania in the previous months. If Germany had not intervened they may have even made it into Italy. But the politics of the country led them to being put into situations where they could not hope to win and now some of their military leaders were making deals with the Germans. At this stage the Prime Minister of Greece had found himself in an intolerable position with sections of his army commanders making their own decisions and talking surrender. The burden became too great. Mr. Koryzis chose to take his own life rather than continue to bear the disgrace and frustration of their disloyal behaviour.
The Greek General in charge on the west coast kept on fighting against the Italian forces until the Germans reached his forces at Yannina. He hated the Italians too much to surrender to them. Yannina is a centre almost directly west of Larissa. The mountains between were absolutely impossible to traverse. Without consulting his Headquarters in Athens the General then contacted the German commander and unconditionally surrendered his forces. This left the way open for the German Army to advance almost unchallenged practically to Athens. Understand that our leaders had planned a defence line based on Brallos and an area north of the Gulf of Corinth on the west coast. However they had not had time to put the neccesary preparations in place. The road was wide open to German forces. This would have cut our forces off from the south. With the north in enemy hands, the entire British forces would thus have been trapped and forced to surrender or be slaughtered.
On reaching the trucks we were told that we were about to withdraw completely from Greece with the 17th Brigade proceeding to Kalamata (or Kalamai as it is often written), a port in south of Greece on the Peloponese Peninsula. We travelled for all the rest of that day almost without stopping and throughout the night. I sincerely admired the transport drivers for their ability to keep going for hours and miles at night without rest and what was more pertinent, without accident, driving all the time without lights. To ensure that no telltale tail lights would be seen, all the drivers were compelled to smash the tail lights on their trucks. After all, the enemy was behind. This made it even more difficult for following trucks to see them and avoid crashing into them if they halted.
During the night we passed the outskirts of Athens and across the Corinth Canal. Unfortunately no time for sight seeing and I so much wanted to see those famous places. We did get a glimpse of Athens from the ship and from the train when we arrived but that only made us want more. Next morning soon after we crossed the Corinth Canal German parachutists landed around the bridge and after some hours of fighting captured and held it. This prevented any further troops moving south to evacuate from Kalamata. With the good ports in the south now denied to them, our forces were compelled to make their evacuations by much more difficult options. From beaches on the coast to the east and west of Athens. They did this successfully but were able only to evacuate personell and were forced to abandon all their heavy equipment. We arrived near Kalamata early in the afternoon of the 26th April, 1941. We left the trucks and walked the last few miles to the port. The trucks, being no longer required, were driven away to a convenient cliff and pushed over. The reason for the walking was to avoid a build-up of vehicular traffic around the port area. As yet the enemy did not know for sure if we planned to withdraw completely from Greece or from where we were likely to sail. They had aircraft searching all the time.
Soon after leaving the trucks we had to pass through a village. We found that the people were gathered along the street with drinks and fruit. Although we did not speak the language, we knew how they felt. Many of the women were weeping as they offered us refreshments. They made it clear they understood we had done our best. We now had no other option but to move out. The kindness and generosity of these people is a memory that I have treasured ever since. We could have forgiven them had they turned against us for running out and leaving them to their fate. Among the fruits they offered were loquats. Few of us had heard of this fruit but voted them delicious. Any fruit would have been judged delicious at that stage.
We took cover under trees away from the port to await darkness. I have sad memories of young Greek men who pleaded with us for our weapons to enable them to offer resistance to the Germans in the months and years ahead. These lads were Greek soldiers who had been tricked into leaving their arms and equipment in the north of the country. If only we could have foreseen how soon we were to lose most of those weapons we may have been tempted. As it was, nobody would consider parting with his arms. Some of our boys had pistols picked up from the Italians in the desert and handed those over to the Greek lads. They needed a lot more than a few pistols.